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Here’s what we know about Apple’s plans for the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Here’s what we know about Apple’s plans for the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Categories: Electronics
Posted: January 31, 2022

Apple’s two-year transition to its own silicon is halfway over. With that, one of the few products that still lack a revision is the Mac Pro.

Another one that isn’t part of the Mac silicon transition but users are eager to have a more affordable option is the Pro Display XDR. Both of these products were introduced by Apple during the WWDC19 and were aimed at the most demanding customers.

Here’s a roundup about Apple’s plans for the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.

It was in November of 2020 that Apple started the two-year transition to its own silicon, but it’s been unclear whether the Mac Pro will receive Apple’s own M series chip or will stay a bit longer with Intel processor.

In May, Bloomberg reported that Apple is said to be working on an all-new Mac Pro with 40 cores. A 20-core chip would also be in the works with GPU options with 64 and 128 cores.

Codenamed Jade 2C-Die and Jade 4C-Die, a redesigned Mac Pro is planned to come in 20 or 40 computing core variations, made up of 16 high-performance or 32 high-performance cores and four or eight high-efficiency cores. The chips would also include either 64 core or 128 core options for graphics. The computing core counts top the 28 core maximum offered by today’s Intel Mac Pro chips, while the higher-end graphics chips would replace parts now made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

About its design, Bloomberg says it is “expected to look like a smaller version of the current design.”

In January 2022, Mark Gurman doubled down his previous reporting that Apple is planning a new Mac Pro:

The company has a bevy of new pro Macs in the works based on the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that are already inside the MacBook Pro. That includes a smaller Mac Pro with up to 40 CPU cores and 128 graphics cores, a new Mac mini, and a large-screened iMac Pro. I’d expect Apple to finish its transition to its own silicon from Intel chips as early as June at WWDC 2022. 

Although Gurman expects Apple to finish the transition to its own silicon from Intel chips at WWDC 2022, it doesn’t mean that the company will in fact launch all the products by June. Apple could do the same as it did with the 2019 Mac Pro: introduce in June and launch a few months later.

What about the Pro Display XDR?

In July, 9to5Mac exclusively reported that Apple has been working on a new external display with a dedicated A13 chip and also Neural Engine.

The new display is being developed under the codename J327. According to sources, this display will have an Apple-made SoC, which right now is the A13 Bionic chip — the same one used in the iPhone 11 lineup. 9to5Mac Filipe Espósito explained in his report why this could be a big deal for Pro Display XDR users:

Having a CPU/GPU built into the external display could help Macs deliver high-resolution graphics without using all the resources of the computer’s internal chip.

Apple could also combine the power of the display SoC with the Mac’s SoC to provide even more performance for running intensive graphic tasks. Another possibility is to use this SoC to add some smart features to the Pro Display XDR, such as AirPlay.

Not only that, but a Bloomberg report in 2021 said that Apple is also working on a new external monitor that won’t be as fancy as the Pro Display XDR, but it should cost much less:

The cheaper monitor would feature a screen geared more for consumer than professional use and wouldn’t have the brightness and contrast ratio of the top-tier offering. Apple last launched a consumer-grade monitor called the Thunderbolt Display in 2011 for $999 but discontinued it in 2016.

Then, in January 2022, Mark Gurman said this new external display is “destined to be about half the price” of Apple’s professional display.

Speaking of Macs and iPads, I’m hoping Apple’s next external monitor—destined to be about half the price of the Pro Display XDR—launches in the coming year. 

Last month, Bloomberg’s journalist also wrote about the development of this new external display:

I strongly believe [Apple will launch a new external monitor for its latest Macs.] (…) At this point, the cost of building that monitor has likely come down, and with a few tweaks and perhaps a slight drop in brightness, Apple might be able to get to a similar quality monitor (at a slightly smaller size) at perhaps about half the price. By the way, it’s still hilarious that Apple tried to justify the current monitor’s price by comparing it to a $43,000 Hollywood-grade reference monitor. 

When do you think Apple will introduce a new Mac Pro and a new Pro Display XDR? Do you think you’ll need that much power or the current selection of the M1 Macs is enough? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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